October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and for good reason — it’s also the month where children get their hands on bags full of candy that can wreak havoc on their teeth if good dental hygiene isn’t being practiced — along with some good old-fashioned will power.
Children love dressing up for Halloween, and may love getting the free candy more. But candy is loaded with sugar, which frankly is a bad bacteria magnet. Your mouth contains two destructive bacteria — Streptococcus sobrinus and Streptococcus mutans. These both feed on the sugar you consume and form plaque: a colorless, sticky film that forms on your teeth surfaces. If saliva or brushing doesn’t wash the plaque away, the environment in your mouth becomes acidic and that’s when cavities begin forming.
This Halloween, play it smart by learning the top candies you should avoid to keep your child’s teeth (and yours) healthy.
To avoid cavities and maintain good oral health, you may want to keep these candies away from your child (and help other kids by not handing them out).
If you’re not careful, hard candy can actually break your teeth. You also keep this type of candy in your mouth longer so the sugar sits there and mixes with your saliva, washing over your teeth. Try sugar-less chewing gum instead.
You may want to pass up on the pucker-causing candy, particularly the sticky ones coated in sugar. Sour candies are very acidic, which could weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making them susceptible to cavities.
Sticky candy can become stuck in the crevices of your teeth and stick around long after you’ve swallowed it. It’s also difficult to remove sticky candy from your teeth which provides cavity-causing bacteria more time to feed on the sugar.
While Pixy Stix and Fun Dip dissolves and washes away quicker, which results in less time in your mouth to damage your teeth, they have low pH levels (1.9 and 1.8) — so low that, according to a Minnesota Dental Association compiled chart, they’re considered to be nearly as acidic as battery acid. Tooth decay starts at a pH level of around 4, therefore, if you must eat powdered candy, just don’t sit there and savor it.
Hard-but-chewy candy,like Now and Laters, are a “double punch to your teeth.” This is because they keep your teeth coated in a sugary film because they take time to dissolve and they’re also hard enough to chip your teeth.
Milk chocolate causes tooth decay and cavities and the caramel in these two types of candy bars is sticky and difficult to remove from your teeth, even with a drink of water or from your own saliva. This causes more bacteria and acid, and acid can dissolve tooth enamel. If you must have chocolate, try candy bars that don’t have fillings and opt for dark chocolate since it doesn’t linger as long on your teeth and is lower in sugar content.
Regular brushing and flossing is your best approach to prevent tooth decay and cavities. You can provide extra protection for you and your child’s teeth by adding an ADA approved oral rinse to their dental hygiene regimen.
Contact Langley Dental Care to set up your next dental check-up appointment or teeth cleaning. We have a knowledgeable and friendly dental team with one mission — to provide the most gentle, individualized dental care possible while building personal relationships. Request your appointment today.